My friend, Kim, shared this story and I thought it’d be worth sharing here. It provides a wealth of insight into the world of dogs who are deaf.
A woman adopted a dog who is partially deaf. He’s been through a lot and when he arrived to his new home, he ended up fighting with her other dog. Here’s the advice she received.
“Welcome to the world of deaf dogs! I have two currently and have had two in the past and fostered and helped train several others. I am a sign language interpreter for the deaf by profession so deafness is really not an issue for me and honestly, it is not an issue for the deaf dogs. They do not know they are deaf. They know they are happy to be alive and the just experience the world a little differently than we do.
“They take more time to ‘smell the roses’ and look to the sky noting every bird and bee that passes by. They are more likely to notice a plane flying over, a kite in the sky or a spider on your ceiling. They may be more sensitive to movement and light. The laser light may or may not be a good training tool. Many deaf dogs become very obsessive about them and can develop OCD type behaviors.
“First DO separate the dogs. Safety is #1 and if you had several fights with a new roommate it makes your future relationship much more fractious and harder to mend. What kind of dog is the new dog? How old? Remember he is a dog first, his breed second and deaf last. It is important that your hands, your touch is always positive because that is your connection to him. Have you had more than one dog before? Do you have a friend or neighbor who would be willing to help you walk the two dogs together in neutral territory so they have less to protect?
“Please go to www.deafdogs.org and check out all the wonderful info there and join the yahoogroup email@example.com. There are nearly 2000 of us all over the world and many people who will be happy to help you with any issues that come up with your dog. Some are professional trainers. There are links to signs and how to use them. It is an awesome website and group.”
While we’re on the topic of dogs, there’s a recall on 19 Diamond Pet Food products. More info here.
And my dog, Itzy, is Shadrach’s friend of the week.